Skip to main content

Tuesday Update

From NEI’s Japan Earthquake launch page

UPDATE AS OF 11:30 A.M. EDT, TUESDAY, APRIL 12

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is planning to pump highly radioactive water from reactor 2 into a condenser, as the utility works to control radiation and restore cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

TEPCO continues to inject cooling water into reactors 1, 2 and 3 and to spray water into the used fuel pools for reactors 1-4. TEPCO also continues injection of nitrogen gas into the containment vessel of reactor 1 to prevent a possible explosion of hydrogen that may be accumulating inside.

A fire that broke out early Tuesday at a distribution switchboard near the south water discharge channel for reactors 1-4 was extinguished without interruption of reactor cooling operations or the release of radioactivity, TEPCO said.

The crisis rating of the Fukushima Daiichi accident was raised from 5 to 7 on the seven-level International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale by the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. The new level, the highest on the scale, designates Fukushima as a “major accident.” The new rating puts the Japanese incident on the same level as the 1986 Chernobyl accident—even though Japanese authorities estimate that radiation released at Fukushima is only 10 percent of the amount released from the Ukrainian plant.

Authorities said much of the high-level radiation leaked from reactor 2 on March 15 and 16, early in the accident. Abnormalities in the reactor’s suppression pool caused the radiation release, the Japan Nuclear Safety Commission said. Radiation continues to leak from the suppression pool, the commission said, but the volume has dropped considerably.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…